Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Says He Never Met Bernie Sanders During Civil Rights Movement

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While endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, civil rights legend, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said that he didn’t know and never met Bernie Sanders during the civil rights movement.

Video of Rep. Lewis endorsing Hillary Clinton:

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Rep. Lewis said, “I know the South I was born and grew up in rural Alabama, and during the height of the civil rights movement working in eleven Southern states from Virginia to Texas. I know South Carolina. I’m going there this weekend. I am going because I believe truely there’s no one else better prepared to be president than Hillary Clinton. We need her leadership, her vision, and her dedication more than ever before. I am going to be there on Sunday and Monday. I am going to the churches. I am going to the streets. I am going to knock on doors. This is an important election, and we need to vote like we have never voted before.

A reporter asked Lewis about Bernie Sanders’ participation in the civil rights movement. Rep. Lewis answered, “Well, to be frank, but I never saw him. I never met him. I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years from 1963-1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and directed the voter education project for six years, but I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.”

The message that Lewis and the members of the CBC are sending to African-American voters is that Hillary Clinton has been there for them in the past. As the Democratic primary electorate gets more diverse, the Clinton history with African-American voters is going to be a huge hurdle for the Sanders campaign.

Rep. Lewis is an icon of the civil rights movement. His endorsement carries with it a gravitas that is unmatched on the issue. Rep. Lewis did not say anything bad about Sen. Sanders, nor did he question Sanders’ commitment to civil rights, but the bar has been set in the South Carolina primary.

Bernie Sanders remains an unknown to many African-American voters. The test for Sen.Sanders will be if he can not only become known but also win their support.